From the Gulf to New England, cold grips the US

AP News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2015 8:52 PM
From the Gulf to New England, cold grips the US

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A powerful winter storm dumped snow from Nashville to Nantucket, and arctic-like temperatures gripped much of the U.S. and hundreds of thousands of people lost power in the South.

While some shivered, others bundled up and tried to make the best of a frustrating situation. Here's a look at how people were handling the land of ice, snow and subzero temperatures.

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COLD CARNIVAL

If there was a theme for this year's Mardi Gras costumes in New Orleans, it was 'Brrrrr.'

Despite the chilly temperatures, the crowds were thick. Tutus were worn over jeans and many costumes, such as clowns or animals, were baggy enough to cover sweat shirts.

Erin Buran of New Orleans wore a white jacket and feathery angel wings.

"My angel wings have tequila in them," she said, showing the mouthpiece of a hydration backpack covered by the wings.

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ROOF WORRIES

Massachusetts officials stepped up warnings about the potential for roofs to collapse under the weight of snow that has built up in recent weeks.

Numerous partial roof collapses have been reported in the state but no serious injuries to date.

Two New Hampshire school districts remain closed a day after schools were evacuated over concerns of snow buildup on roofs.

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ICE BABY

Some things just won't wait, as Jerry Nuesell can attest.

With his wife 33 weeks pregnant, the couple was headed to the doctor's office when Lisa's contractions led them to UNC Hospitals for the arrival of their first born, a boy.

"Turned out the little fellow was ready to make an appearance much sooner than we planned," Nuesell said Tuesday.

He watched his son be born, then drove 30 miles back to Cary, North Carolina, to take care of their dachshund, Schnitzel. Ice covered most of his windshield and the drive wasn't easy.

"I had probably a good 6-inch-by-6-inch square that I had to peer through to get the best vision," he said. "On multiple occasions, I thought this might not be the best idea."

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SURRENDER TO THE SNOW

The tourism office of Ithaca, New York, is waving the white flag, advising visitors on its website to check out the Florida Keys instead.

VisitIthaca.com's home page displays sunny photos from Florida and provides links to Florida Keys information.

The top of the page reads: "That's it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?"

Ithaca and the rest of upstate New York have been in the grips of a snowy and brutally cold winter.

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ICY ROADS

Roads were icy and slushy, making driving difficult in many places and causing at least eight traffic deaths. There were three deaths in Tennessee, including a mother and son in Williamson County who stopped to help people in a sport utility vehicle that overturned in front of them when they were struck by a tractor-trailer. Two people were killed in Virginia as nearly a foot of snow fell in some places. In North Carolina, a woman died in a two-car crash in the northeastern part of the state. Two people were also killed in separate crashes in Maryland.

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SPORTS CAR IN THE SNOW?

"I'll just back up and fly out," is the strategy Brent Seney had for freeing his black convertible Mazda Miata from the snow in the nation's capital Tuesday.

Despite the thick blanket of snow along his street, Seney, 60, was confident his sporty ride could handle the roads. In fact, he planned to drive to his boat harbored at James Creek Marina in southwest Washington.

"I'll shovel the snow off, make sure it's not frozen too much because the harbor is all frozen in," Seney said.

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TRYING TO FLY

Trudging along a snowy sidewalk, Robin Winter and her daughter, Melissa, made their way to a Metro station in Washington so Mom could catch her flight home to St. Louis.

Robin Winter, carrying multiple bags and sporting a sock monkey hat, said she'd gotten into town Thursday, and had been watching the forecasts as the snow made its way across the country.

"If I would have decided to fly out Sunday night instead, you never know for sure if it's gonna really happen until it really happens," she said.

The Winters were optimistic the flight would not be canceled, though they were prepared for a delay. It appeared her flight left on time, but others weren't so lucky. More than 1,800 flights were canceled at many airports, from Nashville, Tennessee, to the nation's capital.

More than 2,000 travelers spent the night at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as a winter storm roared through North Carolina dropping snow, sleet and freezing rain on the region.

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SNOWBALL FIGHT

Even though the snow in D.C. wasn't ideal for a fight, people showed up anyway, some in costumes and battle gear. One wore a ski helmet and goggles, another had on a giraffe costume, and one wore a Captain America shirt and carried a shield.

"It's not really snowball material. You can kind of get one, but it's a lot of squeezing," said Reco Thomas, of Alexandria, Virginia, as she tried to compact fluffy snow.

Rob Grell, a George Washington University medical student dressed as Batman, carried fellow student Shaunak Mulani on his shoulders as people pelted the two of them.

"This is overall just a fun time," Mulani said as he shook off snow.

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FIRST SHOVELER OUT

The sound of 61-year-old Joe Peldunas shoveling his driveway echoed across the otherwise quiet Marywood neighborhood in north Durham, North Carolina, around 8 a.m. Tuesday. No one else on his cul-de-sac was out, and there were few tracks in the layer of snow and ice more than a half inch thick on the road.

"This snow is probably going to stick around for a few days," he said, adding that he wanted to clear his driveway as soon as possible.

Indeed, forecasters warned that temperatures over the next few days wouldn't provide much relief.

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TAKING IT IN STRIDE

After two hours of shoveling his steep driveway in the Cabe's Mill subdivision of north Durham, North Carolina, 68-year-old Clay Shepherd was only halfway done. Still, he didn't seem anywhere close to running out of energy. He was considering an afternoon hike along the nearby Eno River.

"It happens to be my 68th birthday. I didn't imagine I'd be doing this," he said, wearing a green sweater, dark jeans and a knit cap.

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Somers reporter from Washington. Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers in Washington; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Virginia; Matthew Barakat in McLean, Virginia, Lucas Johnson in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed.